We are endlessly being misdirected in search of the crude “hate crime.” After centuries of racial oppression and violence, our society eventually became uncomfortable with the overtness of the racism of the past. Slavery is taken for granted as a horrific thing, something that couldn’t be assumed a few generations ago. For mainstream America, to be accused of being racist is to have been labeled something despicable. Few would willingly accept this charge upon themselves, defending themselves adamantly against such accusations. However, even worse than the racist label for those within the dominant culture, is for a person to be accused of a hate crime. Hate crimes have been created to isolate the most heinous of offenses that have been committed because of prejudice.
The New York Times recently reprinted Michael Chabon’s “Why I Hate Dreams,” which created a little stir when the New York Review of Books first posted it a couple years ago. “Pretty much the only thing I hate more than my own dreams,” he wrote, “are yours.”
In theaters now, Nicholas Cage is taking us to the beginning of the end of time. A time when passengers vanish mid-flight, cars lose their drivers, and those who aren’t raptured face a violent world and a monumental choice: follow the Antichrist toward destruction or follow the righteous and be saved from the world. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and no one’s feeling fine.
Years ago, when the Left Behind series topped the bestseller lists, a friend and colleague of mine was on fire over the books.
An increasing number of people are practicing meditation techniques while commuting to work. They focus on their breathing or on sights, sounds, and physical sensations to help keep them in the present. Denise Keyes takes the train to her job at Georgetown University. She says meditating prepares her for work. “I want to be compassionate and really listen to people. This helps me do that” (Washington Post, October 19).